Charles Osgood is prepping to step down from his longterm perch as anchor of CBS Sunday Morning. As the 83-year-old readies himself for knee surgery next month, CBS execs are in the early stages of considering Sunday mornings without the steady, welcoming presence of the avuncular host.

A spokesman for CBS News declined comment, but sources say that conversations within the news division have begun. Though nothing’s reached the negotiation point, Jane Pauley, who’s occasionally filled in for Osgood since joining the show in 2014, is an obvious candidate, with correspondents Lee Cowan and Anthony Mason are also figuring into the early thinking.

With his mellifluous voice and bow ties, Osgood has been a Sunday morning fixture as the anchor since 1994, a soothing maple-syrup start to the day before the caffeinated political shows kick into gear. Osgood, whose current contract with CBS expires in December, has met with CBS Sunday Morning exec producer Rand Morrison to discuss his plans, possibly for an announcement later this spring. Morrison told the New York Daily News this week that he and Osgood merely “talked vaguely” about the future.

Blake
6 months
No one is owed anything after reaching age 83. Anthony Mason is perfect for this role and...
Ed
6 months
I hope CBS has the foresight not to push Charles out. He is an iconic news figure....
LJ
6 months
No Jane Pauley. Leave Charles alone, he has done a good job and kept up the ratings...

Osgood’s departure — retirement might be too strong a word, since he also hosts the daily The Osgood File for CBS Radio and could conceivably continue in some role on Sunday Morning — is serious business for the network. The program routinely beats ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today in the early-early morning slots, with its blend of news, soft features and Osgood’s folksy approach.